Life is a path: death is a destination

Can you imagine what it actually feels like to not be able to live with yourself. I don’t mean that figuratively but literally. All my life I have been very independent, and when I was told the chances of conceiving my own baby were slim to none, I focused on the practical side of life. Buying a house, studying for a job that wasn’t just a job but a career. I am a very black and white person, the most dominant part being logical, the part of me that has been my core survival. The emotional me has always only had a very small role in my life. That was until William was born. Wow, the intensity of love was frightening, I didn’t know love like that existed and it was all mine. There was nothing that could change it, I didn’t know how I had lived without it for so long. I had finally been born, I was finally alive.

My life it seemed had always been a journey of survival, a survival that relied upon my logical, practical side, a side that had never let me down. When William was sick, I did what I was supposed to do, I took him to the doctors. When I wasn’t satisfied I took him to another doctor, when he didn’t improve I took him back, again and again. In the hours leading up to William’s death I knew something was wrong, and I took him to those that we trust, I walked away reassured I was doing the right thing. The day before William died the niggling feeling, my mother’s instinct was telling me, he’s just not right, so I called for help and advice. Twice that day. Following advice, I was apparently doing the right thing. But it wasn’t the right thing. This I could tell you until I’m blue in the face that William’s death was out of my control, I would trade my life for his, but I still blame myself, I let myself down and I let my boy down.

With hindsight, there’s that word again, a curse word and knowing what we know now that William’s death was avoidable only reinforces that blame is warranted. I know every fine detail of the weeks, months, and those last few hours of William’s life. It doesn’t matter how many people tell me over and over that it’s not my fault, I shouldn’t feel guilty, I wasn’t to know, I did everything I could, the reasoning, but regardless the guilt remains. The guilt is born from what any mother would feel as her normal sense of responsibility for her baby, and the inherent belief that we have ultimate control over what happens to us, what happens to our loved ones and our built-in desire to protect. The despair only magnifies the deep-rooted guilt and makes me feel like a complete failure as a human being, and most importantly as a mother. Existing through each day, resisting the urge to end my life is potentially the hardest fight. A fight I know I’ll lose.

These feelings of guilt creep into every aspect of my day, every thought, intensified by my love for William, my need to close my eyes, go back to those moments and take away his suffering. This is something I have no control over, I can’t go back, I can’t change it but guilt allows me to control the situation I find myself in during every waking moment. I know that the decisions I made at the time were always in William’s best interests. The guilt I know is unfounded, feeling guilty is not the same as being guilty, this is so hard for people to understand. Guilt is all-consuming, made up of despair, regret, incompetence, failure, sadness, and these all form the worst feeling of all, blame.

I feel vulnerable, I am constantly anxious, I am worried, about what I don’t know, I no longer have anything to worry about. I have very little control over any of my feelings, the realisation of the horror that is my life is racked with guilt. My whole body aches with love, now I share my love for William with the world as my only witness. Guilt is the most painful companion to death.

William my sweetheart, you saw me take my first breath as you took yours, I saw you take your last breath, and when I take my last, we will be together. Forever.

Totally lost without you

That face xxx

That face xxx

I’m exhausted sweetheart, exhausted from the constant searching, searching every one of your photos, for a tiny scrap of comfort; but there is none. Sitting on the floor in your nursery, searching for something to touch, something to hold, to smell, to hold close to my heart, hoping that somehow I will feel closer to you. Absorbing myself in the smile that emanates from every photo, it is hard to imagine that it was your mummy smiling right back at you, the other side of that camera. Now, there is no camera lens between us, there is a lifetime.

I feel like I am floating around an ocean in a little rowing boat, a battered rowing boat, guided only by the moonlight, rowing as hard as I can, but I don’t know why, because the boat is filling up with water faster than I can row. I can’t see land. I don’t know where I’m going. It’s getting harder to row, the will power it takes to pick the oars up, the strength it takes to row is overwhelming, the idea of succumbing to the water becomes more and more inviting as each day passes.

The truth is I don’t know how to live without you and I don’t want to learn. Why should I? Is it because that’s what I am ‘supposed’ to do? Because I have no choice? Because the alternative is something people brush under the carpet, but I do have a choice, this is my life, and my choice. Some people say that is selfish, but isn’t it selfish to ask me to endure a lifetime of pain so they don’t lose me. The pain of grief is unrelenting, you can’t take a tablet and hope it’ll ease in half an hour. You can’t put a plaster on it. It is there every second of your waking day, and then when you manage to get some sleep, the nightmares make sure to keep you in the present. Waking up more exhausted than you were when you went to bed.

I stand in front of the mirror every morning and I don’t recognise the reflection staring back at me. What I see is broken, a shadow of the person that used to stand in front of the same mirror. Without you William I don’t feel like I belong, after all you are part of me, the only person to ever hear my heart beating from the inside. An unwavering bond that intensifies with every beat of my heart, but the beating hurts, the memories hurt, living hurts. I miss being able to touch you, hug you, and to be with you, I can’t hug memories, I feel like I’m trapped within 4 walls, every direction I go, life is an obstacle, suffocating and stifling. I miss the euphoric feeling that gripped me on each of your 382 days. Being with you, made me feel 10 feet tall, made me feel free, gave me a sense of belonging. Until I find you again, I will keep searching, and I know that I won’t belong anywhere until I find you.